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July 15, 2013

Lobsters top Philadelphia in Philippoussis' home debut

MANCHESTER — As first impressions go, this one was pretty good.

Marquee player Mark Philippoussis made his home debut for the Boston Lobsters last night, contributing seven scintillating aces while helping the hosts beat Philadelphia in men’s singles and men’s doubles.

The points won by their Australian star helped Boston pull out a 22-19 overtime win over the Freedom in World TeamTennis action at Joan Norton Tennis Center and Manchester Athletic Club.

The Freedom (1-4) won the evening’s final match, mixed doubles, to make it 21-19. Mylan World Team Tennis rules allowed mixed doubles to continue; had Philadelphia won two games they would’ve forced a super tiebreaker, but Boston’s Eric Butorac and Katalin Marosi won the first game of OT to seal Boston’s second team victory in three nights.

“It was good,” said Philippoussis. “The crowd was lively and it was a good first experience here. It’s always better when you can pull out the win.”

Boston (3-4) has played the most matches of any team in the league, and their busy slate continues tonight when they host Washington and its marquee player, Martina Hingis (7 p.m.), back at the MAC.

At 6-foot-5, Philippoussis brings a powerful serve and plenty of experience. The 36-year-old was the first player to lose to Roger Federer in a Grand Slam Final (Wimbeldon, 2003). He also played in two Grand Slam Finals and two Olympics.

Last night, he uncorked that serve on Samuel Groth of the Freedom in the opening match, which Philippoussis won 5-2.

“With that huge serve, you know going into men’s singles if he can squeeze out a break, you have a chance to take a lead,” said Lobsters head coach Bud Schultz. “That’s nice to know going into the rest of the match ... and it’s great having Mark on board.”

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